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News from December 2006

New Wii Channels This Week

Barely a month after launch, two of Wii's promised features will see the light of day. Internet-connected users turned on their Wii today to receive a message from Nintendo informing them that the weather channel was just a short system update away. Furthermore, the Wii web browser will debut on Friday.

The weather channel allows the users to select a city from which to receive a daily forecast, including temperature and wind speed. This might sound pretty boring, but the neat part comes when you can zoom out to view the entire globe, spin it around, and check the weather in all kinds of bizarre places. For the record, it's a measly 1 degree Fahrenheit in Antartica today, but at least it's not snowing.

Friday's content may be a bit more interesting as Nintendo release's the beta version of the Opera browser. Initially, users will be able to download this update for free; it will remain free until June of next year.

Finally, the last promised Wii channel, the News Channel, will arrive at the end of this coming January.

Source: GameSpot

Fresh Attempt at PSP Movies Coming in 2007

Never one to take the market's resounding no at face value, Sony is making another stab at selling PSP owners portable movies. Sometime next year, a video download service similar to Apple's iTunes will allow PSP owners to download movies specifically for use with their PSP.

Few details have been released, but it is known that movies must be first downloaded to the user's computer, then transferred to a memory stick to play on the PSP. There is no word of which, if any, studios will be participants (presumably, Sony has at least someone lined up), but Hollywood can rest assured that this move will not exacerbate copyright infringement. Sony, always hard at work to implement draconian and even damaging copy protecting measures, will ensure that only one copy of the movie can exist per paid download.

Since PSP owners can already transfer DVDs they own to their computer and from their to their PSP, I don't see how this is much different from the failed UMD strategy. This time, users won't even have a convenient case with a pretty picture in which to store their purchase, and with DVDs frequently available for very low prices, I can't imagine an incentive to buy a virtual copy that can only be watched on my PSP instead of the real thing that I can watch anywhere.

Source: GameSpot

Nintendo to recall 3.2 million Wii wrist straps

"Nintendo said Friday it will replace 3.2 million straps for its popular Wii computer game controllers after receiving a rash of reports that the devices flew out of the hands of overzealous players.

The recall is a bittersweet development for Nintendo — a costly hitch in its three-way battle with Sony Corp.'s (SNE) PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Xbox 360, but also confirmation of the enthusiastic reception worldwide."
Read the rest courtesy of Fox News


It's an unfortunate happenstance for Nintendo that wrist straps would be wearing out so quickly after the launch of the Wii - one would expect that they would have a better quality assurance team after such a long development period - but Nintendo should at least be happy that people are getting excited enough about their system that they're flailing wildly enough to break a wrist strap. I'm a bit wary about the change simply from 0.024 inches to 0.04 inches, because if 0.024 inches can wear out in a short month, does that mean the new straps will only last two? I'm hoping that they also made some sort of change to the fabric to ensure that it will at least last a good amount of time.

The website Wii Have A Problem is a good resource of Wii-related accidents that have been occurring, and it currently has a side-by-side snapshot displaying how the difference in thickness is. I have never seen the controller in person and was shocked to see just how thin it was and still is - even knowing the measurements, I was still thinking in my head that it would be as thick as the part that you can see in the photo that goes around your entire wrist.

The entire ordeal, as the article mentions, will cost Nintendo "several million dollars" but it ends up being decent PR that Nintendo would actually fix a documented problem and make it right for all Wii customers.

DIY Games on XBox 360

Xbox 360
In an effort to make a "YouTube for Games", Microsoft have released new software to allow gamers to create a home grown custom slice of gaming fun. The program, called XNA Game Studio Express, will allow XBox 360 gamers as well as windows users to create their own games and distribute them via XBox Live, and has been under trials since August.

Doubtlessly also a small effort to compete with the Wii virtual console and PS3's similar efforts, this also is reminiscent of home-made games from the mid 1980's onwards, and has parallels with the "black playstation", Net Yaroze, which allowed the creation of games... if one forked out a few thousand notes on a special PSX which cost around £500 via mail order, and not to mention the PC, internet connection, and the basic knowledge of C++. It nonetheless produced some surprisingly good games, distributed via the official UK PS magazine's demo disc.

Of perhaps greater note and of a greater parallel, PC's have always had various low-budget shareware games floating around, and possibly more as XNA Game Studios can of course be used to create games for a Windows PC, further evidence that the line between PC and Console is still blurring.

Those aiming to make their own homebrew videogames via XBox 360 however will have to subscribe online to the creators club, for $49 for four months or a $99 annual fee, or £35/65 in the UK.

It remains to be seen what will truly occur from an interesting repolish of an old concept, but if the number of people these days trying to be programmers is anythign to go by, there will be significant intrest and maybe a few gems will emerge.

Source: BBC News
(1 Comments – Last by BDZ)
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Dragon Quest IX to be DS-Exclusive

Dragon Quest
Yes, you heard correctly. The ninth entry of the fabled RPG series is going to be on the Nintendo DS. Very little concrete info has been released thus far, but we know that it's going to be called Dragon Quest IX: Defenders of the Stars and it's going to be co-developed by the Dragon Quest dearm team (Yuji Horii, etc.) and Level-5, virtually the same team that brought us Dragon Quest VIII for the PS2 a year ago. Horii himself stated in the press release that this DS game is "not a gaiden or side-story, but a true part of the series."

This is great news for fans of the series, who are unfortunately accustomed to long delays in between DQ titles (there were five years between the releases of DQ VI and DQ VII, followed by four years between DQ VII and DQ VIII). It is certainly unexpected for Square-Enix to put the next iteration of such a major series on a handheld system, but it might just be a testament to the overwhelming popularity and developer support of the Nintendo DS in Japan. In any case, the tentative release date for Dragon Quest IX is "mid-2007."

source: N-sider

CoNtest 2006 - The Resolution

Caves of Narshe Site News
First of all, thanks everyone that took part in our little CoNtest. We had around two dozen entries, with some of them surprisingly close and some of them hilariously off-course. In any case, we had two entries in particular that came awfully close to a perfect four for four. So, I hereby offer heartiest of congratulations to...

Zeromus_X and Nytecrawla!

Both users guessed two correct and had a third guess that was one of the four fakes in the wrong place. No users had more than two correct answers. Still, in any case, both Nytecrawla and Zeromus_X each earned twenty dollars in the form of an gift certificate! If there had been a single winner or if the winning entries had been more correct the prize probably would have been greater, but hey, it's twenty bucks! What's not to love?

Also, the staff members of Caves of Narshe would like to thank all of the participants and other interested parties. We had a blast conducting this CoNtest (mostly laughing at the antics of the four fakes) and you can probably expect a new CoNtest sometime next year, but not one like this. Seriously, we'll probably never be able to pull this off ever again now that all of you have experienced it.

And yes, I know what you guys want to hear. Who exactly were those four? Which staff members went incognito? Well, we'll let them tell you themselves. Keep an eye on this thread for the final posts of chou, kimono=happy.gif=kitsune, Inque, and Green Mage for the truth!
Posted in: CoN Site News

The Government and Gaming

You probably didn't need a news post to realize this, but the two simply don't mix.

Should online gamers start keeping better track of their game-world assets? They might have to if World of Warcraft loot morphs into taxable income. The government hasn't made a move in this direction yet, but economic analysts claim that it's a matter of when, not if.

Thanks to the real-money market that has grown up around online games like Ultima Online and Second Life, there's real money to be made by farming game products to sell to other players for cold, hard cash.

Unfortunately, any new tax legislation would not merely tax the people making a real-life living--if it's potentially worth money in the real world, then it's taxable, regardless of whether or not the player ever chooses to take the fruits of his labor out of the fantasy and put it on the market.

Source: GameSpot

In other news, a suspected PlayStation 3 thief was shot to death in his apartment by officers who may have mistaken a game controller in his hand for a gun. The teenager, who is believed to have been behind the robbery of two PlayStation 3 consoles as their owner unloaded them at a campus apartment, did not come to the door promptly enough as officers kicked it in. Also killed was his dog, a German shepherd.

You'd think police officers everywhere would be cautious before unloading into a suspect on the off-chance that he might be armed after the big stink in New York City over the unarmed groom-to-be who was shot by police...and that's only the most recent in a long line of itchy trigger fingers. But a game controller looking like a gun? I guess we have to assume that he was playing his hot PS3, because, otherwise, the trailing cord should have been a dead giveaway.

Source: IOL (among other news outlets)

Of course, even bureaucracy has its moments. The state of Michigan has recently been ordered to pay the court fees accrued by the Entertainment Software Association in its legal battle over the state's restrictions on selling games to minors. Michigan's law is only one of several in recent years to be declared unconstitutional by various state courts; the laws generally impose punishments or special restrictions prohibiting the sale of adult-rated games to children.

Wait, my bad. That was the courts having a moment of clarity--the government bureaucracy is still responsible for this huge waste of taxpayers' dollars over a free speech issue in the first place.

Source: GameSpot
(4 Comments – Last by Quad)
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©1997–2018 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.